Antiques dealer Vito Giallo, who worked for Andy Warhol, unearths his gems
While Mr. Warhol drew using a pad on his knee in front of the television, Mr. Giallo used a light box to produce line drawings. Mr. Warhol’s mother did the lettering and made lunches of sandwiches and Campbell’s tomato soup.
At night they would go out. “I didn’t like wild parties,” Mr Giallo said. “But Andy did it. Everyone wanted to meet him. But when they met him, they were very disappointed because he didn’t say anything. He hardly ever spoke. Mr. Giallo preferred jazz and quartet shows – Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Miles Davis – which cost a few dollars a ticket. It was easy, too, to sneak in, though Mr. Giallo swears he never tried.
In the 1950s, he said, people could enjoy the best meal of their lives for $1.85 — the equivalent of about $22 today — and walk into Lord & Taylor asking for a referral. for “a lighting guy”, only to be connected with Alexander Calder’s best friend. “It was a lot more fun,” Mr. Giallo said. “You could sleep in Central Park without fear of being in danger. A lot of people have done this in really hot weather.
Mr. Giallo quit working for Mr. Warhol in 1957, after the two had a falling out. (Mr. Gluck, his replacement, became Mr. Warhol’s most important assistant.) In 1961, Mr. Giallo opened his first antique shop, on Third Avenue, where he attracted a clientele of Abstract Expressionist painters such as as Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Lee Krasner. “When they bought something, I delivered it to Rothko’s apartment, which was just around the corner,” Mr Giallo said.
Mary Gabriel, an art historian, noted that these artists often welcomed strangers into their workspaces. “If you wanted to see an artist’s work, you would go to their studio and talk to them,” she said, adding that today, “It hurts me to think that people are looking at a painting 10 feet on the internet.”